Homeless & poor in Calif. can get free cell phones

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Updated: 3/05/2013 8:13 pm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Homeless people and Californians who make less than $14,702 a year will be able to get free cell phones and service, thanks to a new statewide program that began this week as part of the federally funded Lifeline effort.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports two companies are now offering free phones and monthly plans for 250 talk minutes and 250 text messages to anyone who can prove they are income eligible.

Before, the federal program only provided landlines to the needy, but last week the California Public Utilities Commission expanded Lifeline to cell phones.

San Francisco's head of homeless initiatives plans to send staff to low-income housing complexes and shelters in the coming weeks to make sure people know how to apply.

Reach Out Wireless and Assurance Wireless are providing the phones.

©2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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